Turkey counting on Syrian ceasefire to deliver aid

Turkey says cease-fire has potential to extend beyond 48 hours, however military operations against DAESH in northern Syria would continue.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

President Erdoğan says the initial 48-hour ceasefire could be extended by a week.

Thirty-three Turkish aid trucks carrying food, children's clothes and toys are ready to leave for the Syrian city of Aleppo, if the US and Russian negotiated ceasefire holds, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday.

The ceasefire brokered by the countries that back opposing sides in the war, calls for a nationwide truce from Monday and improved access for humanitarian aid.

"Today after sunset, whether it is the UN or our Red Crescent, they will send food, toys and clothing to the people, mainly in Aleppo, through the predetermined corridors," Erdoğan said after Eid al-Adha prayers in Istanbul. 

 Erdoğan said the initial 48-hour ceasefire could be extended by a week.

(Tweet from Turkish Red Crescent fundraising for the Aleppo operation)

The agreement between Russia which backs the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad, and the United States which supports some rebel factions, excludes the DAESH terrorist group and Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

Erdoğan said Turkey's military operations against DAESH in northern Syria, launched almost three weeks ago, would continue.

Previous efforts to forge agreements to stop the fighting and deliver humanitarian aid to besieged communities in Syria have crumbled within weeks, with the US blaming Assad's forces of attacking opposition groups and civilians.

The United Nations on Friday said the Syrian regime had effectively stopped aid convoys this month and the besieged city of Aleppo was close to running out of fuel, making a truce even more urgent.

Civil war broke out in Syria in 2011 after the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Hundreds of thousands of people have since been killed and millions have fled their homes.